COLD BORSCHT (for six)
3 large or 4 to 5 medium beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups water
dairy sour cream or unflavored Greek yogurt (optional)
sliced hard cooked egg or small boiled red potatoes (optional)
a small bunch dill, coarse stems removed and discarded, fronds minced, for garnish
lemon wedges to accompany
1. Preheat oven to 450*. Scrub the beets, wrap them in aluminum foil, place on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast for about an hour, or until the beets are tender.
2. When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skins. Chop the beets and set them aside, reserving any natural juices that have accumulated.
3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion, apple and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the ingredients have softened.
4. Add the beets (plus any accumulated juices), sugar, salt and pepper and stir. Pour in the water.
5. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
6. Puree the soup by hand with an immersion blender, or puree in a food processor or blender. Add lemon juice. Allow soup to come to room temperature, then chill, covered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.
7. Serve garnished, if desired, with sour cream or yogurt for a dairy meal, or with boiled egg or potato. Serve lemon wedges in the side.
adapted from Ronnie Fein, Food and Wine Magazine’s “Jewish Week”